The shots just kept falling for Kansas, and despite an historic first half from West Virginia junior Sean McNeil the Mountaineers were unable to survive a second-half barrage as KU pulled away for a 79-65 win Tuesday at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.
The No. 7 Mountaineers fall to 7-2 (1-1 Big 12) with the loss while No. 3 Kansas improves to 8-1 (2-0 Big 12).
McNeil entered the game shooting just 30 percent from three-point range this season. but in the first half against the Jayhawks, McNeil was a perfect 7 for 7 from the floor and 6 for 6 from 3-point distance. There was a stretch from 14:31 to 10:47 where WVU’s only points came on four McNeil three-pointers. His sixth and final of the half came with one second left from 30 feet out.
McNeil’s last-second three at the end of the half gave WVU its first lead since the first basket of the game, 36-35. The Mountaineers’ one-point lead was short-lived in the second half, as the Jayhawks significantly improved their perimeter shooting. Eight of Kansas’ first nine baskets in the second half were three-pointers, with sophomore Christian Braun leading the charge with 22 points on 7 of 14 shooting, 6 of 12 from three.
As a team, Kansas shot 37 three-pointers in the game, 19 in the second half alone, making 16. The three-point barrage allowed KU to fully pull away from WVU, building up a 22-point lead at one point down the stretch.
McNeil finished with 24 points, but shot 1 for 5 in the second half, missing two three-point attempts. McNeil’s six three-pointers were the most in a single game by a Mountaineer since Lamont West made seven on Nov. 18, 2018.
Sophomore point guard Miles “Deuce” McBride finished second on the team with 19 points but spent much of the game in foul trouble. Big men Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe combined to score just 11 points and Kansas out-rebounded the Mountaineers 40 to 37.
Bruan also finished with seven assists and four rebounds. All five Kansas starters scored in double figures with Jalen Wilson (17 points), Marcus Garrett (15), Ochai Agbaji (11), and David McCormack (10).
The Mountaineers will take a break for the holidays with their next scheduled game on Jan. 2 against Oklahoma. WVU canceled a game against Buffalo originally scheduled for Dec. 29 and athletic director Shane Lyons said Tuesday morning they will attempt to find a new opponent.